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Ask HN: What is a talent acquisition like?
64 points by ryanjmo on July 30, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 19 comments
Hi Everyone,

My co-founder and I are meeting with YouTube in the next few weeks. For various reasons our best guess is that they are interested in a talent acquisition.

We were just wondering if anyone has any personal stories or articles about what it is like to go through a talent acquisition or what possibly to expect.

Thanks, ryanjmo




Talking about a meeting with YouTube in public may impact your prospect.

My best advice: get a lawyer after initial meeting when you know more about what they want.


Thanks for the advice, but we are not concerned with ruining the prospect.

We are ramen profitable and are going to succeed with our without an acquisition. We would just be on a different path.

A large reason we put this post out there, is to determine if it is something we are actually interested in.

Also, being able to be open with the world about what we are doing is one of my favorite parts about being in a start-up. One of our main goals with our startup is enjoy the experience. If YouTube really doesn't want to work with us because we mentioned our meeting publicly, it is an indication that it is not somewhere we want to work!


They are owned by a public company though, so they may have some sort of rules in place for talking about acquisitions before they happen.


I applaud you for this. Frankly you'll end up being more desirable if the company notices that you don't really care about them that much. As you say, it will send strong signals that you will succeed regardless and they'll probably want to acquire you now on the cheap than wait till you become too expensive. Don't listen to the other people that want you to jump hoops for something that may not even pan out.


That's pretty obtuse. You should certainly take their position into consideration, and even more certainly should be talking to a competent attorney with M&A experience about this.


I agree that is makes sense to respect companies you are working with wishes.

In this post though we are merely speculating as to the reason for the meeting and looking for advice from the HN community. If the company had suggested to us that we should keep the fact that we are having a meeting with them confidential, we certainly would have. It is definitely the right thing to do if people ask.


Yeah I know of a few YouTubers who post here.


Oh no, the YouTubers! Please. Huge cred to ryanjmo for being open, it should be like this.


This is good advice. HN is plagued with people posting when instead they should be speaking to attorneys.


Maybe, but what we were looking for in this post was to get a feel for what the general experience was like for people who have been through it. We aren't seeking legal advice at all. If we were, I agree that HN is certainly not the place we'd turn to.


From my experience, what occurs during a talent acquisition depends on what your product is and how you will be integrated to the larger company. No integration means a good payout, plus a legacy-free transition into the new company. Then you just have the usual things of culture change, having a boss again, etc. If you were passionate about your product this may be hard (see Dodgeball).

If there's any sort of technical part of the acquisition, depending on the type of technology it can be pretty rough. I was part of a team that was acquired for talent and technology, and as such we needed to integrate our search engine from Trovix to Monster.com. It was interesting, but not fun.


I can imagine the experience, as I'm part of the team integrating Trovix into Monster, from Monster's end. Definitely interesting, but not fun indeed.

I've often wondered how much in the real world, technology and the associated costs affect due diligence.


Looking at your comment history it looks like you're part of the Prague team. Are you working with Earl and Praveen from the MV side, or with Dave and Evan from Maynard?


Dave + Evan


Seems like it depends. The Dodgeball guys clearly hated the transition.

Then there's FriendFeed. Bret Taylor became CTO of Facebook very quickly after the acquisition and is now the second, and arguably better, public face of Facebook. His talent level is clearly off the charts though.


I've been through it with YouTube, drop me an email if you have specific questions.

I'd love to be able to share our story with everyone, but we are bound by confidentiality agreements. I couldn't even tell my friends what was going on until the day we closed.


Are those confidentiality-for-life kinds of agreements, or just N years until you can write up the full story (if you wanted to)?


It's 100% about the culture (for lack of a less buzzy term) of the organization you're going into.

If you'll be working on exciting projects and the people there love what they do, it will be wonderful. That is how my first 'talent acquisition' went.

If, however, they are working on boring projects and are acquiring you to 'inject some life' into their organization, run away.


I was part of the Powerset acquisition which was largely for tech/talent. The transition has been a long slow death march to try and reach our bonus payouts.




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